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    The special edition of Ricky Lee's classic "Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon." Design by Karl Fredrick M. Castro.
Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon (Special Edition)
Remaking and updating a Filipino literary classic
Ricky Lee
Writers Studio Philippines



8.5 x 11 in
The front cover. Himala film still courtesy of Roper's.
Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon is a unique anthology comprising a selection of Lee's short stories, interviews, journalistic articles, and a full-length screenplay. Aside from its odd combination of genres, it also had a creative format, a magazine-book hybrid.

The challenge was to repackage the book in such a way that it would retain the classic feel, innovative format and 1980s identity of the original, yet make it updated, relevant and attractive to a contemporary audience.
Spot lamination provides depth and texture to the otherwise smooth/sharp front cover type, and creates a subtle texture of character silhouettes (left). It is also used to incorporate the author's handwriting as a texture to the lower part of the front cover (top right) and the back cover (center).
The half-title page, featuring an illustration that extends to the inside front cover. As this is the next page that one sees after the photo-based cover, one already gets an impression of the variety of styles found in the book. Illustration by Kendrick Bautista.
The full title page puts the spotlight back on Nora Aunor, in a dramatic scene from Himala.
The type treatment in the book's interior is reminiscent of popular 1980s styles. The colored cover, although a departure from earlier black-and-white covers, remains subdued, featuring a monotone image. Thus, it is bright and attractive on shelves while maintaining the classic look. On the cover, figures and elements were rendered in plastic lamination to give an interesting texture without drawing too much attention.
The foreword, where you can see what the two earlier editions (1988 and 1990) looked like. Both were stark black-and-white covers.
My participation in the project was not limited to graphic design per se. I also had a hand in key editorial decisions, especially with the addition of new content (ie updates on articles, a eulogy for director Lino Brocka ca 1991, and a behind-the-scenes look at Himala). Since the previous editions' copies were in less-than-optimal condition, I chose to source the original artwork and photographs whenever possible. Many new images from alternative sources like libraries and personal collections were found throughout the research. New illustrations were commissioned for the short stories, to give them a more current feel. The reordering of the table of contents was also tricky, since the pieces were not arranged by chronology or genre, but by a thematic flow of sorts.
Short fiction
A spread from a short story. A consistent three-column grid unifies the book through a variety of genres and layouts.
New illustrations by Kendrick Bautista.
Type treatment for a short story. The type blends with the drawing's style. Illustration by Kendrick Bautista.
Spread for a short story. The black background of the original layout is retained. However, a new illustration parallels the story's theme of enforced disappearances under Martial Law with present-day desaparecidos. Overall, a feeling of literal and metaphorical darkness enveloping the city. Illustration by Ivan Reverente.
A spread of reportage about the "little people" in a film production crew. A study in scale (large display type, small people). White space emphasizes the scale disparity. New illustrations by Kendrick Bautista, behind the scenes production still from the set of Himala courtesy of Roper's.
Type treatment for a journalistic story. The title's type mimics the regularity and rhythm of a "long march."
A profile of 70s bomba star Yvonne. Using clippings of Yvonne's scandal at the Gala theater, the page on the left transitions from a previous article about the Gala into the next article (right page) on Yvonne. New (old) photos and clippings courtesy of Video 48.
A series of profiles on veteran actress Jac(k)lyn Jose. Made purely out of J's, typographic illustration by me.
Detail, type treatment for an article entitled "1976" discussing the highlights of that landmark year in Philippine cinema. Images culled from movie newspaper ads, courtesy of Video 48.
Spread for an article on young male prostitutes. The black page mimics the dark milieu of a seedy bar. Original photos by actress Chanda Romero.
Himala: The screenplay
Detail of the layout of the Himala screenplay. Pictures courtesy of Roper's.
Detail, type treatment for the screenplay layout. The original edition's three-column layout was maintained, but a stricter. cleaner grid was put in place.
Last page of the Himala screenplay, featuring a large photo of Elsa's iconic death scene alongside the movie credits.
The inside back covers showcase the author's amazingly illegible penmanship. These are the original handwritten drafts for one of the stories in the article. The crossed-out portions indicate that they have been typed up (via typewriter).
Two posters to announce the relaunch of the book. One (left) focuses on Himala, and the other (right) highlights the book's eclectic mix of genres. Both are 18 x 24 in.
Scene from the relaunch of Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon, held last 31 May 2009 at Powerbooks, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. In this video, actor/singer Ogie Alcasid reads a very amusing excerpt from a new addition to the book, Ang Paggawa ng Himala.

Note the t-shirt (worn by actor and launch emcee Ricky Davao) and banners which were designed for the event. An enlarged version of the cover, mounted on an easel, serves as a backdrop for the small event.

Other videos from the launch:
Robi Domingo reads from Now Showing: Maliliit na Tao sa Pelikula
Jean Garcia reads from Tiririt ng Yvonne
Fernando Josef reads from Servando Magdamag
Danton Remoto reads from 1976: Isang Taon ng Kadaldalan at Kabuluhan
Ricky Davao and Chanda Romero read from Kabilang sa mg Nawawala
Phillip Salvador reads from Ang Mahabang Martsa ni Emmanuel Lazo
Allan Paule reads from Mga Batang Lansangan: Sa Taft ang Simula, sa Luneta ang Wakas
Dingdong Dantes reads from Mga Batang Lansangan: Sa Avenida Grumadweyt sa Rugby, sa Quiapo Naghananap ng Pagmamahal
Jaclyn Jose reads from Mga Batang Lansangan: Sa Ermita Na-Virgin
Vangie Labalan and Angel Locsin read from Himala
The special edition of Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon is available at all leading bookstores in the Philippines.